Seven Stars Insider – April Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  Wow, there is more good info than usual.  I will break it out later, but wanted to get this up ASAP.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Caesars players – especially in Atlantic City this month.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of new and useful information in this edition (some of which I’m going to reference in future posts), so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – April 2011

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Caesars property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online here.

Second Seven Stars Club Set For Atlantic City
The site of the former Bacchanal dining experience at Caesars will become Atlantic City’s second Seven Stars Club.  Management hopes to have it open in time for the June Signature Event (see below).

June Signature Event
The next Signature Event will take place in Atlantic City June 23-26.  Lionel Richie will be the featured entertainment and “Straight, No Chaser” – last summer’s resident entertainment at Harrah’s Resort – also will appear.  [“Straight, No Chaser” will officially open its summer 2011 season on June 27 at Harrah’s Resort.]  Additional Signature Events are scheduled for August 26-29 at Lake Tahoe, and October 6-9 and 13-16 in New Orleans.  The second weekend in New Orleans coincides with the annual Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Weekend.

Surveying Useless Surveys
When is Caesars going to stop sending those ridiculous surveys to its customers?  I was in Caesars Atlantic City briefly one Monday morning to use some expiring free play, and three days later a survey “about my visit” popped into my e-mail.  For one thing, much of the information asked in the survey – and previous similar surveys – is already known to Caesars, e.g., what I play (slots or table games), slot machine denomination, etc.  But what was really crazy were the questions regarding my overnight stay.  While I clearly stated that I stayed at another property (and even identified it!), subsequent questions asked about how I made my reservation, the cleanliness of the room, etc. – as if I had stayed at Caesars!  I don’t mind surveys, but these are truly meaningless and I refuse to bother with them in the future until someone takes a good hard look at their content.  [At least they dropped the question I used to hate most: “Is this a casino you feel ‘lucky’ in?”  What was the point?]

Reservations About Caesars Reservation System
Message boards were buzzing last month when someone posted her [not so great] experience with Caesars telephone reservation system.  Lots of people agreed with her, but, oddly, no one suggested the simplest way to make a reservation – the Caesars Web site.  You get an immediate response and you can print your confirmation details in the event of an error once you go to check-in.

Use Hosts As Ambassadors, Not Secretaries
Speaking of making reservations, last month I was approached by a host at a non-Caesars casino, but one where I have played since it opened.  [I have what is basically equivalent to a Caesars Diamond card.]  This casino has an excellent Web site and it’s very easy to make hotel reservations – and, if it’s available, even request a suite (knowing that this can’t actually be confirmed until check-in, but, 75 percent of the time, I’ve gotten the upgrade I requested).  The host cited all sorts of “advantages” to using his services, e.g., comp rooms, late check-outs, restaurant reservations, etc.  Frankly, I’ve never had a problem getting a comp – and usually upgraded – room (and, if I did, I just went elsewhere), nor have I ever been denied a late check-out just by calling the front desk, and I’ve never had a problem getting a restaurant reservation.  When are casinos going to wise-up and stop wasting hosts’ time by making them nothing more than glorified secretaries?  Rather than making hotel and restaurant reservations, these ladies and gentlemen should be spending their time checking up on their guests, getting to know them better, and finding out how their customers can help get more of their friends into the casinos, etc.  Oh, and report back to management all the “negatives” they’re hearing!  I can’t tell you how many “front line” employees – especially bartenders, restaurant servers and player’s club staffers – have told me that management seems to totally ignore their reports of customer dissatisfaction.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Use The Men’s Room
A second robbery in as many months has occurred in the men’s room at Bally’s Atlantic City.  New Jersey State Police are investigating the robbery and assault of an 86-year-old man on the morning of March 6.  The victim – a World War II veteran of Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army and the Battle of the Bulge – suffered bruises, but refused medical attention.  Maybe there’s a reason it’s called Wild Wild West?

Smoking Lawsuit
The mother of a former employee at Harrah’s New Orleans has filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status and accuses the casino of failing to protect its employees from generous levels of secondhand smoke.  Her son died of cancer last year, according to published reports.

Caesars To Open Hotels Without Casinos
Look for Caesars hotels in “underserved” Asian markets – India, China and southeastern parts of the continent, but don’t expect to gamble there.  You might even see a Flamingo in Europe.  It’s a plan similar to one already instituted by MGM Resorts International.

Caesars Palace Plans Hotel-Within-A-Hotel
Caesars Palace has turned to Nobu Hospitality to create a boutique hotel within the hotel.  The year-long transformation will turn the 180-room Centurion Tower into the Nobu Hotel Las Vegas.  The renovation will also include development of a Nobu-themed restaurant and lounge facility at the base of the hotel tower, encompassing 9,500 square feet near Caesars Appian Way retail area.  Caesars Palace will operate the hotel and employ the staff for Nobu Tower, which will include a separate check-in area and small lobby.

Mixed Messages?
First I get a mailing from Caesars Palace which touts:  “Reel Rewards is the most convenient free slot play around.  There’s no PIN to remember, or complicated download sequence – simply insert your Total Rewards card and Reel Rewards Express Play Coupon, and play away!”

Then a week later, I get another mailing from Caesars:  “At some locations, and coming to many more, Total Rewards members can download Free Slot Play right at the slot machine!  No more coupons to keep track of – just start playing your favorite machine and offers will be delivered by our Total Touch technology.”

So, which is it?  Coupons or downloading play at the machine?  I’ll opt for the download any day.  I don’t know anyone who is thrilled with Caesars system of issuing Express Play Coupons, both for some of its promotions and “Gaming Offers” [what used to be called Cashback, and actually was money returned to you in the form of real cash].  Unless you’re redeeming a coupon you received in the mail and, depending on whether it’s promotional free play or gaming offers earned from prior play, you need to go to a Promotional Kiosk (if it’s some sort of “promotion” – but not always) or to a regular “Rewards Kiosk” if you want to check your gaming offers – except that not all promotional offers are limited to the Promotional Kiosk, e.g., the Lucky Clover game at Caesars Atlantic City last month.  [Are you following me?]  With some promotions, first you have to swipe your card at the second floor Promotional Kiosk, make a selection, print your coupon, and then take your coupon to the Main Cashier – which at Caesars in Atlantic City is on the first floor  (unless it’s a weekend when the second floor cashier might be open).  The cashier then will issue you Express Play Coupons in the denominations of your choice.  (However, be very careful and check the expiration dates – sometimes they’ll be good for five or six days, sometimes, they expire that same day.)  At Bally’s next door you don’t even have a choice when it comes to downloading your free play, i.e., “Gaming Offers”.  As soon as you swipe your card, you get a screen which tells you how much free play you’ve earned, and you can’t go any further into the system without hitting the icon and printing a coupon – which, again, you have to take to the Main Cashier (and, if you print your coupon at a kiosk in the section of Wild Wild West closest to Caesars, it’s a bit of a walk to the Main Cashier).  What if you have $100 in free play, but don’t have time to play it, or don’t want to play all of it that day?  Or what if you got coupons in the mail and left them home?  At least on this issue, Trump and Borgata have it right.  No coupons are needed; everything is downloadable at any machine.

Las Vegas Bar and Restaurant News
– Chef Michel Richard will bring Central 24/7 to Caesars Palace in late summer.
– An enhanced version Burger King’s famous brand, a Whopper Bar will soon be open for 24-hours-day at the Rio.  Offering customers 30 different hamburger toppings and Whopper concepts not found at traditional Burger Kings, the Whopper Bar also allows customers to order various beers with their meal.  Among the 30 toppings include A1 steak sauce, pepper bacon, guacamole and crispy onions.  The restaurant also will offer several specialty hamburgers, including The Angry Whopper, which includes spicy jalapeños and pepper jack cheese; the California Whopper, with guacamole, bacon and Swiss cheese; and the BK Black & Bleu Steakhouse, with bleu cheese and blackened Cajun sauce.  In addition to hamburgers, the Whopper Bar will serve breakfast from 2 to 11 a.m.

Atlantic City Restaurant News
Caffe Tazza (not Tozza, as reported in the Press of Atlantic City) has opened in the lobby at Caesars.  Offerings include pastries, breakfast fare, gelato, wraps, sandwiches and salads.  Similar to the Gelato Bar in the Metropolitan over at the Borgata, Caffe Tazza, though, is strictly “take-out” since there is no seating available.
Primavera in Caesars has closed to make way for the new Atlantic Grill Seafood.   I always enjoyed Primavera, but, as I wrote more than a year ago, the days of tuxedoed waiters, white glove service, crystal chandeliers, hand-painted murals, etc., are gone – especially in casinos. Arrivederci, Primavera!
Nero’s Sunday brunch has been relocated to Mia in Caesars lobby.
– First it was the Harbor Club/Diamond Club, then last summer it was transformed into D’Zio and now this mezzanine-level space at Harrah’s Resort will become Dos Caminos, featuring “modern Mexican cuisine”.  Look for an opening Memorial Day weekend.
The Deli at Harrah’s Resort has closed and will become Bill’s Bar & Burger by the end of June.  Hopefully, it will be better organized than the Deli and keep more consistent hours.

Loveman’s Compensation Tops $18 Million
Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman earned more than $18.2 million in total compensation in 2010, of which almost $12.4 million was listed as option awards.  According to the company’s annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Loveman earned a salary of $1.9 million in 2010, nonequity incentive plan compensation of $2.7 million and other compensation of more than $1.268 million.  Loveman earned total compensation of more than $5.9 million in 2009 and more than $39.6 million in 2008, much of which was tied to $36.4 million in option awards following the formerly public company’s buyout by two private equity firms.  According to the filing, Loveman is required to use Caesars aircraft for personal and business travel due to security reasons.

Smoking Mad!
I ran across this on one of the message boards I subscribe to.  Makes a lot of sense:  Harrah’s AC held a sweepstakes on March 18 and again on March 25. It was called “Diamond Cove Hot Seat Sweepstakes”. To be eligible, you had to be a Diamond cardholder and be playing in the Diamond Cove room between 6 p.m. and midnight using your player’s card. Every 15 minutes one active player in the Diamond Cove would win $500. Since the Diamond Cove is a smoking-permitted room, and due to the drawing, the room was even more smoky than normal. Non-smokers who do not want to be exposed to the high levels of secondhand smoke could not participate in these sweepstakes. It may not have been intentional, but Harrah’s AC is discriminating against non-smokers. I am sure that smokers would be unhappy if a casino ran a promotion that prohibited them from participating.

$1,000 Hand Pays
As reported last month, many Caesars casinos are hand-paying jackpots at $1,000, rather than $1,200.  No W2-Gs are issued, but, as many have complained, it’s annoying and inconvenient to have to sit and wait for your cash.  Two other points I hadn’t considered have surfaced over the last month: tipping and security.  Though by no means an obligation, most people are probably going to give the slot attendant some sort of gratuity, basically leaving it up customers to help compensate Caesars employees.  Far more serious is the tip-off to potential muggers who now know someone has a wad of cash in his pocket (or her purse).

Security Concerns At Boardwalk Casinos
I’ve written before about folks sleeping at slot machines – particularly at Caesars, Bally’s and Showboat (and, to be fair, the other Boardwalk casinos).  The number of “questionable types” roaming these casinos –even during the day – actually discourages business and drives some people to play exclusively at the Marina District casinos.  Trip Advisor, though, has had some particularly harsh comments about lack of security at Caesars and Showboat.  You can read them for yourself here and here. [For that second link, you’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to the security portion.]

Kansas City Harrah’s
Lest you think it’s only Atlantic City that has security problems, check this out:  According to a Web posting, a man had a seizure and fell off his chair in Harrah’s Kansas City.  According to the report (see link below), there were no employees around so a customer went running to the bar yelling, “Help, help, we need a medic. A man is having a seizure.” The report claims that the bartender didn’t even look up.  After another round of yelling (and no response), the customer called 911.  Fortunately, the man having the seizure is OK.  Here’s the complete story.

Gain An Extra Hour: Stay At Caesars In Atlantic City
Stepping back in time has new meaning at Caesars in Atlantic City.  Apparently, no one bothered to change all the room clocks when we went to Daylight Saving Time last month.  I’m sure guests would be happy to advance their room clocks if it didn’t take a degree from MIT to accomplish this.  For now, maybe a Housekeeping supervisor should add this to his/her list of things to check when inspecting rooms.  [Start with Room 4303 in the Centurion Tower.]

6ix: A ‘Garbage Dump’?
I’ve never been a fan of the “casual dining” outlets in Bally’s Atlantic City (6ix: A Bistro, Pickles and especially the Virginia City Buffet).  However, after receiving several coupons for free food and beverage, I decided to have lunch at 6ix one day last month.  I was seated at a booth with a view of at least six or more uncleaned tables with dirty plates and leftover food piled up.  (See photo above.)  There were discarded – and presumably used – paper napkins on the floor under my table, and the whole place seemed woefully understaffed.  Considering there was an entire section in the rear of the restaurant that appeared relatively neat and clean (and only partially occupied by other diners), I don’t know why I was seated in the midst of all this filth.  Rather than request another table, the reporter in me decided to stick around to see how long it would take to get things back in shape.  By the time I finished my tuna sandwich, but not my tepid and greasy french fries, the area was once again ready for customers.  The only bright spot was my charming and accommodating server Abu.  When Bally’s closed its previously sad coffee shop, Animations, I had high hopes for this new venture.  However, the whole place is poorly designed.  Customers and employees are constantly dodging tray stands – usually topped with trays, which are topped with dirty dishes, and back-ups at the cashier are legendary.  Plus, why locate the cashier where paying customers are forced to line up directly in the path of servers bringing food from the kitchen?  And then there is that great sign at the entrance: “Please Wait For Hostess To Be Seated”.  [I’ve waited and waited, but she never sits down.J]

New Orleans Partners
There seems to be lots of buzz lately about which restaurants in New Orleans are 1:1 and which are 2:1 – also, which ones are even included in the program.  Here is the link that shows you the partner restaurants. Since these policies change frequently, I would call Harrah’s New Orleans (1-800-Harrahs) and ask for the VIP Guest Desk which is where you would go to get your comp vouchers for the off-site restaurants.  (Even Ruth’s Chris in the hotel lobby is 2:1.)

Atlantic City GM Recognized By Magazine
Senior Vice President and General Manager of Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah’s Resort Jay Snowden has been named by Atlantic City Weekly as one its “Top 40 Under 40”.  His bio pointed out that he has 13 years of industry experience, including six in the Atlantic City market.  “Looking at 2011 as a pivotal year for the A.C. market, Jay plans to continue to stay involved in the city’s revitalization efforts and build upon the current success and momentum in the areas of entertainment, citywide events and nightlife,” according to the article. “In addition, Jay plans to introduce some new, well-known restaurant names/brands, provide innovative gaming experiences, and enhance hotel accommodations at both properties.”

Great Gift Wrap Up Bonus
Head to Las Vegas April 15-17 if you want to rack up some bonus points for the 2011 year-end Great Gift Wrap Up.

Comments, Complaints and Other Observations
Asking an open-ended question last month really unleashed the floodgates.  In descending order, the biggest complaints were perceptions that Caesars has downgraded the Seven Stars program by reducing the number of annual gift choices and Signature Experiences, understaffing (from housekeepers and restaurant servers to security guards, slot attendants and cashiers), and poor housekeeping.  More specifically, players would like longer and later hours at the Las Vegas casinos’ Diamond Lounges, as well as the reopening of the Seven Stars Club at Caesars Palace (or the opening of a Seven Stars Club somewhere in Las Vegas).  Two players wished Caesars would just add $500 in comps to their account each year rather than force them to “blow” 500 bucks on a one-time dinner.

[A Not So] Happy Birthday To You!
One Seven Stars cardholder, used to getting a generous [cash] birthday gift each year, received a mere $50 in free play this year.  Upon questioning this change in policy, according to the e-mail she received, the amount was based on her play during the previous three months.  This “what have you done for me lately” philosophy doesn’t seem fair.  Once they’ve achieved Seven Stars (100,000 tier points), many folks scale back their play toward the end of the year.  If you’re unlucky enough to have a birthday toward the end of the calendar year or the beginning of the calendar year, you’re going to get less than you probably deserve if your overall annual play was accounted for.  Has anyone else found their birthday “gift” to have been cutback?  Send me an e-mail to sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider

Seven Stars Insider – February 2011 Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is a lot of information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – February 2011

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Caesars property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online.

Making The Most Out Of Your NCL Cruise Experience
Although not part of the Total Rewards program, be sure to sign up for a player’s card once on board.  Like Total Rewards, the cards will give you free drinks and points for cashback.  Also, be sure to meet with a casino host.  While I’ve not experienced an NCL cruise personally, I understand the casino hosts are very friendly and take good care of their customers.  At the end of the cruise, one reader wrote that the points earned though his play knocked $500 off his total bill – likely three or four times the value of the points.  In addition, “They had a couple of promotions, a slot tournament, a blackjack tournament, and hot snacks one or two nights,” he wrote.  And while you can apply for a credit line from the casino before you travel, they also offer an interesting option for cash:  You can draw a couple thousand dollars a day against the credit card you have on file for cruise expenses (subject to your credit card limits, of course).  Anyone else have tips to share?

Bally’s Bathroom Robbery
A man from Virginia was beaten and robbed in a bathroom just off the casino floor at Bally’s Atlantic City around 6 a.m. January 21.  The suspect followed the man and, once in the bathroom, police say the robber grabbed the victim from behind and slammed his head into the wall, nearly knocking him unconscious.  The victim fell to the floor where he was punched several more times before $100 was stolen from his pockets.  The attacker then got away; the victim was taken to the hospital with injuries to his head, nose and face.

C-Bar Opens At Harrah’s Chester
Described on the Web site as a “sleek ultra lounge situated in the center of the table games action on the casino floor,” C-Bar also features “flair bartending”.  It’s open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday from noon to 2 a.m.

Cherokee Parking Deck Opens
A new casino parking deck with direct access to the casino has opened at Harrah’s Cherokee.

Rio’s Hamada of Japan Closes
While its Flamingo location remains open, Hamada of Japan has closed its Rio restaurant.

Player’s Card Security Risk?
Casino companies may not be the only ones keeping track of how many points you have on your player’s card.  The cards represent a growing number of fraud cases in Las Vegas, as hackers target the programs and casinos’ customer databases in an effort to gain access to customers’ personal information or steal points, gaming regulators and security analysts claim.  “We are investigating several cases at the moment,” said Jerry Markling, chief of the enforcement division of the Nevada Gaming Control Board in Carson City.  “We’ve been seeing a lot of cases involving player’s club programs and the stealing of points.”  “Nevada has some very strict laws in place regarding customer confidentiality,” said Rob Meyne, vice president of corporate communications with Boyd Gaming Corp.  “In addition, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has recently reminded licensees that they are responsible for maintaining security of customer databases.”  Other casino companies declined to comment on the issue.  The security threat doesn’t just involve player cards, either.  Nevada gaming officials and security analysts said casinos’ smart phone applications – which require users to provide personal information that is stored in casino databases – are also a concern.  Hackers are attempting to hack into these databases to gain access to credit card or debit card information, or banking and other financial information.

Margaritaville To Open In Biloxi – But Not By Caesars
The Jimmy Buffett-backed Margaritaville Casino has new life, but the site has changed, and it won’t be owned or managed by Caesars.  Planners said it will move from across the street from the Grand Casino, Hotel and Spa to the Back Bay of Biloxi.  They hope to have all the paperwork and license approvals so the proposed 68,000-square-foot, $48 million Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant will open by year’s end.  The master plan for Margaritaville includes shops, a casino, restaurants, an events center and a marina.  In 2007, Buffett and Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, announced plans to build a $700 million casino on the beach.  That resort was scheduled to open last year, but now sits unfinished after Harrah’s stopped construction in 2008.  “We are disappointed that our project with Margaritaville will not proceed,” said John Payne, Caesars Entertainment central division president.  “We will continue to explore opportunities that will allow us to enhance our resort.”

Caesars Employees Benefit From Non-Cash Reward System
The next time you commend a Caesars employee or respond favorably to a survey, you may be giving those employees a new blender or a free vacation.  Caesars Entertainment Corp. has replaced its cash-based rewards system with a non-cash reward system.  Referred to as the Total Return program, the new initiative – theoretically – empowers employees and motivates them to perform.  While employees work toward improving the customer experience, they earn credits in a variety of ways, including customer service surveys, safety, customer compliments and community service.

Palms Acquisition
Published reports are claiming that Caesars Entertainment is expressing an interest in acquiring the the Palms Casino, across the street from Rio.

Free Stay At Atlantis, Paradise Island
Seven Stars cardholders may be able to get three free nights at Atlantis, Paradise Island, now through March 29, 2011.  While the promotion is aimed at those with “premium cards” from Atlantic City casinos, a Seven Stars card has no specific casino associated with it, so I should think nearly anyone would qualify.  Reservations must be made through Casino VIP Services to qualify for this promotion.  Call (800)-PLAY-711 [(800) 752-9711] and mention “AC Billboard Promo”.  Reservations through any other source will not qualify.  Your stay must be booked by March 29, 2011, for travel through March 29, 2011.  Details here .  [Note: Diamond cardholders may qualify for a more limited offer, so check the Web site for details.]

Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon Offers Free Grub
Show your Seven Stars card at the Victorian Café and you and your party eat free!  There doesn’t seem to be any dollar limit, and you order off the regular menu.  Bill’s is located across from Caesars Palace and next to the Flamingo.  As always, because policies can change on a moment’s notice, be sure to confirm this offer with the host/hostess before being seated – and remember to tip accordingly!  Bill’s is owned by Caesars Entertainment and considered a “casino partner”, but does not participate in the Total Rewards program.

Harrah’s 15X Promo Fizzles. . .Then Redeems Itself
Invited players at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City had a special incentive to play there on New Year’s Day:  a mystery multiplier – 3X, 6X or 12X.  But, when some players swiped their cards, the kiosk indicated they would be receiving 15X Reward Credits that day!   What they didn’t know was that the kiosks had malfunctioned and the 15X was a “mistake.”  Cardholders had to re-swipe to see what we were really getting.  Some folks, who were guaranteed 11X points at Showboat and Bally’s that day, had stayed at Harrah’s since they thought they were getting 15X and had played for a few hours before they learned the bad news.  Complaints to the Total Rewards Desk were answered with, “. . .it was a computer glitch” and “they were sorry”.  A week later, though, Harrah’s changed its mind and awarded 12X points (the highest possible multiplier for that day) to all the people who had swiped early in the morning and saw the 15X by mistake. They apologized for the inconvenience and said the bonus points would be dropped into accounts in a week to 10 days.  Good for them!

Restaurant Of The Month
A visit last month to Primavera (Caesars Atlantic City) reminded me that I have yet to experience less than stellar service or a poor quality meal there – ever!  Syggy, our server, has been at Primavera for nearly 30 years; both he and his team provided discreet, efficient service that complemented the excellent food.  In addition, Primavera, as well as a number of Atlantic City casino restaurants operated by the four Caesars properties there, offers half-price bottles of wine from Sunday through Thursday.  Check with your restaurant for details and to be sure the promotion is still available. Kudos, too, to Michael, the manager, for his warm welcome.

Question Of The Month
I haven’t been to Las Vegas in 10 years, but I’m taking my Seven Stars trip there next month.  Are there any special perks for Seven Stars (other than the “usual” ones like jumping lines, special check-in, etc.)?  If you’re staying at Caesars Palace you can get complimentary coffee and tea every morning after 8 (and a USA Today on weekdays) at Seven Stars Registration in the Augustus Tower.  Even if you’re not staying at Caesars, you and a guest get free admission to Qua, its spa and fitness center.  Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and Rio will admit you and a guest to their spa and fitness centers, but Paris limits this perk solely to the cardholder.  You can get two free tickets (once a month) for many of the shows at Caesars properties.  Check at the Total Rewards desk for availability.  Then there’s the free food at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon (see above).  Other than that, I can’t think of anything else, but if anybody knows of any perks I’ve missed, send me an e-mail.

Happy New Year’s?
Here’s a sample of some of the comments about New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country at Caesars casinos:

Paris Las Vegas party was an A+!  Awesome food, great service.  My only complaint was that Gloria Gaynor’s watch was slow and they did not show Strip fireworks.

We had dinner at Mia [Caesars Atlantic City].  After that we went over to Harrah’s Resort to see the B.B. King concert.  We got there early, so we went to the Seven Stars Lounge.  They are always so nice; I’ve never had a problem.  Showtime was 10 p.m., but when we got to the entrance we were told it started at 11.  The concert was OK, but B.B. did a lot of talking.  I think the show went from 11 to almost 1 a.m., but he only sang a few songs.  He also forgot about its being the New Year and went over the time.

I agree 100% with your comments about the Caesars [Atlantic City] dinner.  Brunch the next day, though, was great.

New Year’s Eve at Bally’s [Atlantic City] was executed professionally, and was not Seven Stars, but 10 Stars!  Handling in excess of 1,600 guests for the dinner, and in excess of 2,000 for the brunch, it was well-planned, and was a major success.  The food, decorations, pre-assigned seats, the music, the multiple large widescreen monitors in all of their ballrooms on the sixth floor, coupled with excellent security, the dancers, the live remote to New York City for Dick Clark’s traditional “Ball Dropping” combined for a successful feather in the cap of Gerald Beaver, their Food & Beverage Director, and the entire group of employees assigned for this monstrous and challenging task!  Kudos to Bally’s for showing how it can be done right!  We all know how easily it can be done incorrectly.  Congratulations, Bally’s!

New Year’s Eve at Harrah’s Resort [Atlantic City] was fabulous.  The food was excellent and the service was really great too!
As background, we were perennial guests at Caesars for New Year’s and never disappointed.  They always did the best party on the Boardwalk.  There’s no question that when Harrah’s [now Caesars] came into the picture, the event was down scaled a little.  In accepting an invitation from Bally’s for this year’s party, it was with some remiss that we wouldn’t be at Caesars.  Sounds like luck favored us after all.  While the menu was similar to that described for Caesars, it was served up in a timely manner and was extremely satisfying.  (To be fair, I should note that while my steak was beautifully done, most at the table didn’t fare as well.)  The band was top notch, and the wine selection quite acceptable.  The only complaint I might lodge is that they were understaffed (with half the number assigned to our table than in past years).

Seven Stars For Less Than 100,000 Points?
Citing the economy, for the past couple years Harrah’s – now Caesars – renewed this coveted status for several folks who were Seven Stars cardholders, despite the fact they didn’t earn the requisite minimum 100,000 tier points.  [And, I just heard about a Diamond player who was renewed at this level at far less than the current 11,000 point qualifier!]  Has this happened to you or were you offered a card for 2011-12 even though you didn’t earn 100,000 tier points during calendar year 2010?  Send me an e-mail (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider

Seven Stars Insider – December Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of new and useful information in this edition (some of which I’m going to reference in future posts), so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – December 2010

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Caesars property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at http://sites.google.com/site/sevenstarsinsider/.  You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at www.adobe.com.

Hail, Caesars Entertainment Corp.!
In the works for a while now, Harrah’s Entertainment is now officially Caesars Entertainment Corp.  Market research showed that, not only did Caesars have better name recognition as a brand, but the Caesars name connotes a more upscale, classy product – particular important, Harrah’s found, in the international marketplace where they are behind Wynn and MGM in developing properties outside the United States and Canada.  However, if you’re looking for Caesars Entertainment’s Web site, don’t go to www.caesarsentertainment.com – it’s the site for a Bangkok brothel!

Failed IPO
Owners of Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars, see above) shelved plans for an initial public offering last month, because investors weren’t buying into it – literally and figuratively.  The company’s revenues have shrunk in the first nine months, and Harrah’s/Caesars lost money.  According to one news report, “Harrah’s was too expensive for a company whose fortunes are so tied to the troubled American consumer.  At times, investors may be gullible and their memories can be limited.  But they are sufficiently aware to see through stories that don’t add up.”  Ouch! Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider – December Edition”

Harrah’s Las Vegas Diamond Clubs

I was reading the latest Seven Stars Insider and found a couple interesting bits about Harrah’s Diamond Clubs in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Diamond Clubs
It’s official. . .you now can take out your favorite cocktail (in a plastic cup) from the four Diamond Clubs in Las Vegas.  The policy was quietly changed about a month ago.  Up until then, only beer and bottled water were allowed out of the clubs – unless, of course, you were able to sneak one past the employee at the door.  [Some folks were known to ask the bartenders to fill an empty Perrier or water bottle with gin or vodka, or decant their clear drinks themselves.]  It’s about time.  Most other Diamond Clubs allow drinks to be taken out; plus, it seems to me that Harrah’s would prefer their customers to be out on the casino floor rather than warming a seat in the club.

Sports Bar or Diamond Club?
It’s bad enough that nearly every television in the Vegas Diamond Clubs (and practically every other club in the country) is tuned to ESPN or some other sporting event, but, according to one of the bartenders at Caesars Palace, the TV over the bar must be tuned to sports.  The “policy” came to light recently when two customers sitting at the bar asked for the channel to be switched to CNN.  [The other two sitting at the bar didn’t care which channel was on.]  Whatever happened to listening to the customer?

I never realized that drinks couldn’t be taken out of the Las Vegas Diamond Clubs.  I usually go to a Diamond Club to relax and have a drink or three.  Maybe I’m abnormal.  I don’t just look for a free drink to take with me.  I also don’t visit the clubs for a meal.

Also, the new rule that the Diamond Clubs have to show sports is awesome.  Unlike Daryl I hate when there’s anything else on.  I’m a sports junkie and will watch anything sports related so this is cool for me.  However, thinking more broad-based, this is pretty closed minded.  Like he says “what ever happened to listening to the customer” if someone wants to watch something else and nobody else minds?

The Diamond clubs are supposed to be a touch above typical service.  This seems as if it’s closer to the mediocre Harrah’s customer service many have come to know over the years.